A report released by UNICEF has revealed that even though Ghana has been able to eradicated extreme hunger and poverty, the situation of general poverty is still high in rural areas.
The report, which covers 2006 to 2013 also revealed that despite the eradication of extreme poverty in Ghana, rural poverty is now almost four times high as urban poverty , making it two times higher than it was in the 1990s.
Households in urban areas, according to the report continue to have much lower average rates of poverty than those in rural areas.
At the regional level, the Northern, Upper East and Upper West regions continue to have the highest poverty rates. Nonetheless, substantial progress has been achieved since 2006 in the Upper East Region as poverty has dropped from 73% in 2006 to 44% in 2013.
On the other hand, the Northern Region saw a marginal fall in the high levels of poverty; from 56 to 50 percent.
This slow rate of poverty reduction comes despite policy interventions such as LEAP, National Health Insurance and the School Feeding Programme.
Dr. Esther Ofei-Aboagye, the Vice President of the National Development Planning Commission, said government should focus on a more even distribution of resources to curb the situation.
“One out of eight households eligible for LEAP is receiving the cash.We need to upscale extensively the same way we need to upscale school feeding extensively”.
She added that government should put in place measures to ensure that beneficiaries of poverty eradication programmes attain skills to make them self-dependent.
“We need to also build in the linkages with these initiatives as the labour intensive public works policy but most importantly we have to make the necessary physical space,” she said.
Dr. Esther Ofei-Aboagye added that government should strengthen the local systems of eradicating poverty and not rely so much on foreign aid “We need to make sure that we can feed our own children so that we don’t depend on development partner sources for these interventions and programmes, otherwise the reliability of these will not sustain the momentum that we want. We want to draw attention to it, we want to encourage our government to prioritize and continue to fund these interventions,” she noted.
The report further revealed that Ghana’s national level of poverty fell by more than half between 2006 and 2013. Declining from about 57 to 24 percent. However the annual rate of reduction of the poverty levels slowed substantially.
This declined by as much as 50 percent from an average of 2 in the 90s to 1 percent since.